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I know there is some mechanism in humans by which we start to ignore a certain stimuli if it persists for a long time (e.g., we don't feel our shoes all the time !).

Can the same thing happen in Mimosa pudica? Can it again get it's original arrangement of leaves if it is stimulated without interruption?

I think it should do this, otherwise it will not be able to grow if it is surrounded by bushes from all the sides as it will be stimulated constantly and so will be unable to photosynthesize properly.

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Could you expand on the specific stimulus you are talking about? I am not familiar with the behaviour of mimosa plants... –  nico Aug 14 '13 at 5:33
    
I am talking about "touching" of leaves. –  biogirl Aug 14 '13 at 6:36

1 Answer 1

Mimosa leaves have mechanoreceptor cells which sense the mechanical stress through proteins called mechanoreceptors (they are similar to the ones responsible for sense of touch in animals). When stimulated the mechanoreceptors cause ion channels to open leading to depolarization. This generates an action potential (like neurons) which in turn activates the motor cell. Motor cells cause leaf movements by change in their interior turgor pressure (similar to opening and closing of stomata).

Repolarization takes time and mimosa may not respond to stimuli that are too frequent. That it anyways wont because it takes a while for the pressure to relax which would cause the leaves to open.

I am no plant biologist but if I compare this situation with that in neurons, I can say that long term non-responsiveness or adaptation can happen because of down-regulation of mechanoreceptor. Again, there would be thresholds (on amplitude and frequency) for the signal to cause adaptation.

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